NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - More than 20 members of a Christian group were refused permission to dock in Cyprus on Tuesday after they were turned away from Israel because officials there said they belonged to a doomsday cult.
The group, which including women and seven children, were refused landing at the port of Limassol because "they refused to reply to basic questions posed to them by immigration officials," police spokesman Glafcos Xenos said.
Cyprus police said they had learned that the Sekta group was threatening to commit suicide with the advent of the millennium, Xenos said.
Cyprus police said there were 25 members in the group, including 18 Irish citizens, six Romanians and one Colombian. But Israeli police said Monday there had been 26 people - 18 Irish and six Romanians. There was no explanation for the discrepancy.
Xenos said the group's ship, Nisos Kypros, would return to the Greek port of Pireaus, where the group originally boarded.
Israeli police denied the group permission to land because they belonged to "an extreme Christian cult," said spokeswoman Linda Menuhin in Jerusalem.
Israel fears it will become a target for Christian doomsday groups as the millennium approaches. It has set up a special police unit to screen visitors and prevent cultists from passing through border controls.